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News for 13 December 2019

All the news for Friday 13 December 2019

Four-star Muckross shine in brilliant Junior Cup final win

Muckross Park celebrate their success. Picture: Katie Ryan

Muckross Park produced a superb team performance to retain the Leinster Schoolgirls Junior Cup with goals from Ava Maleady, Darcy Gallagher, Charlotte Walsh and Sarah Rooney all on the mark at Belfield.

They were good value for the result, holding sway from the outset once Maleady had poked home Walsh’s cross in the second minute.

Walsh was a vital figure – along with sweeper Alex Gallagher – down the spine of the team and she played the ball in which culminated in Darcy Gallagher’s rebounded effort for 2-0 at half-time.

Walsh then effectively sealed the deal with six minutes to go when she angled in a penalty corner shot with pin-point accuracy. The effervescent Rooney than completed the result when she nicked the ball off the last defender and slotted home.

For Mount Anville, Georgia Kelly was tireless in midfield with Jenny Costello also shining but they were unable to get a full foothold after that early setback.

The two captains with Lena Tice and Sarah Hawkshaw. Picture: Katie Ryan

For Muckross, it continues their stunning run in this competition, winning three times in the last five years with seven of this side landing the title a year ago.

Leinster Schoolgirls Junior Cup final

Muckross Park 4 (A Maleady, D Gallagher, C Walsh, S Rooney) Mount Anville 0

Muckross Park: C Rogers, L Comerford, A Gallagher, C Coleman, K Daly, I de Chaumont, G Fotterall, D Gallagher, A Maleady, T O’Loughlin, E Quinn, S Rooney, H Rowell, I Sheehan, L Sheehan, C Walsh

Mount Anville: J Costello, S Mulcahy, A Corbett, L D’Arcy, A Dunn, E Flemming, J Holmes, E Keane, G Kelly, C O’Flynn, J O’Hanlon, G Sargent, M-K Tierney, S Traynor, A Wilkinson, A Wyse

The Hook

Belgium superstars Wegnez & Vanasch look ahead to FIH Hockey Pro League 2020

The FIH Hockey Pro League second season gets underway in January 2020 after a hugely successful first edition. We caught up with the coaches and players from the participating teams as they prepare for the new look FIH Hockey Pro League season to get underway. In the following interview, two superstars of Belgium’s Red Lions – midfielder Victor Wegnez (nominee: FIH Player of the Year 2019) and goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch (nominee: FIH Goalkeeper of the Year 2019) – look ahead to the 2020 competition.

Reigning World and European champions Belgium (FIH World Ranking: 2) finished the 2019 FIH Hockey Pro League season in second position, being narrowly defeated 3-2 by Australia (WR:1) in the competition final. Fascinatingly, their 2020 campaign starts with an away fixture against the Aussies on 25 January 2020.

What are the team’s ambitions for this second season?
Vincent Vanasch: “The ambition of the Belgium national team for this season of the Pro League is to develop young guys and to develop our tactics, because our focus this [coming] year is on the Olympics, Tokyo 2020. I think we want to reach our best potential by the end of June, so we will be ready in Tokyo.”

What are your thoughts on the new FIH Hockey Pro League format that will be introduced in the second season?
Vincent Vanasch: “The difference between last year and this year in the fixtures is that we are going to play two home games against the same team in each country, so twice in Belgium. I think this is really good from a sport point of view, because we are going to stay with the team a minimum of three days or five days in the same hotel to play twice against a team, so we can focus on details, we can recover really fast and adjust some details.”

Which fixture are you most looking forward to?
Vincent Vanasch: “For this season I’m really looking forward to all of the games because all of the points are important. Especially the two games against the Netherlands, which is always a derby for us, and I think it is going to be a great game with lots of pressure, but we are going to enjoy [it].”

What was your #MyProLeagueMoment of the first season?
Victor Wegnez: “I have actually two. The win against Argentina in Argentina, because that was the first game where we had a really massive crowd cheering against us. It was pretty warm and I think there was around 6,000 people watching a hockey game, which was pretty nice, and it was not in India, so it was the first time I have seen a lot of people [at a match outside of] India, so it was pretty ok. The second one was the win against Holland in Holland in the semi-final, which was also a pretty good moment for Hockey Belgium.”

What message have you got for the fans to get them along to watch the matches in the second season?
Victor Wegnez: “We hope to see you all for the first game of the Belgium national team in Wilrijkse [Antwerp] between April and May, so if you want to come and see a good hockey game with some goals and some rhythm and some good action, we are awaiting you in Belgium to come and watch a game. See you soon!”


Official FIH Pro League Site

Rani Rampal: Mental and physical readiness for Olympics priority for Indian team

The women’s team captain underlines the importance of managing the body and mind well for the marquee event.

Rani Rampal: “I believe fitness will play a huge part in how teams fare [in the Olympics].”   -  PTI

The Indian women’s hockey team will prioritise to be mentally and physically equipped for the Tokyo Olympics in the lead-up to the event, captain Rani Rampal has said.

The team is currently in Bengaluru for the National Coaching Camp which will end on December 15. After a three-week break for Christmas and New Year, the core group will return to camp on January 5, 2020, to prepare for the tour of New Zealand.

“One of the primary focus for us will be on fitness and recovery. While the plan is to play top quality matches against good teams in the lead up to the Olympics, all of us need to manage our body and mind well,” Rampal said.

‘Need to peak at the right time’

“We will need to peak at the right time and going by the weather in Tokyo around the time of the Olympics, I believe fitness will play a huge part in how teams fare,” she added.

This has been an eventful season for the Indian team as it booked a berth for participation in the Tokyo Olympics. For the first time in history, the Indian women’s team will make back-to-back appearances in the Olympics. In the lead-up to the Qualifier, the team also scripted creditable victories over top teams like Spain, Ireland, Japan, China, South Korea, England, among others.

Expectations rising

The team’s good run has brought it several accolades, awards and recognition in the past one year. Rani sees this as a new era for women’s hockey in the country. “The fact that people never expected any great result from the Indian women’s team always bothered us. No one expected us to win, just a participation would bring satisfaction. But now I see that attitude change towards the Indian women’s hockey team,” she said.

“We have proved with our performances in 2018 and 2019 that we can achieve greatness too.”

‘Big boost’

Rani received the Sportsperson of the Year award at the FICCI India Sports Awards here on Wednesday.

“Personally this award is a big boost for me to do better and contribute to my team’s performance. I also think this kind of recognition highlights Indian women’s hockey among a different genre of people who are not necessarily hockey followers,” she said.

“I believe this will only help the sport grow. I would love to see the Indian team inspire more women take up the sport professionally.”


Forward Firhan racing against time to get fit for MHL

KUALA LUMPUR: National forward Mohd Firhan Ashaari has had enough of being a spectator.

After missing out on the action in the Olympic qualifiers in London, he is now scrambling to get fit for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) starting on Jan 10.

The 27-year-old did not represent Malaysia in London last month as he was still recovering after a knee surgery in June. In his absence, his teammates failed to book a ticket for the Olympic Games after losing to the hosts in the two-match playoff.

Firhan is hopeful of returning for competitions as he is on the final stage of rehabilitation.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed to fully recover by the end of this month although I know, I have little time to train, ” said Firhan.

“I do hope coach Nor Saiful (Zaini) will include me in the league. I’m experienced and can still contribute.

Firhan, was the top scorer for Tenaga in the MHL, which ended in March this year, with 12 goals.

He also helped Tenaga beat Terengganu 2-1 in the final to win the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup in January and finished as the runners-up to Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in the league.

In the TNB Cup (overall), they outplayed Maybank 7-2 to finish third.

Firhan said that that this year they had a rather good outing in the MHL and they hope to put up a better show in the new season.

Firhan has been playing in the MHL since 2009.

He is also eyeing for a spot in the Sultan Shah Cup team in Ipoh in April.

The Star of Malaysia

Kookaburras and Hockeyroos celebrated at annual awards night

Kookaburras co-captain Eddie Ockenden and Hockeyroos duo Jane Claxton and Kaitlin Nobbs are the toast of Australian hockey tonight after taking out the major awards on Hockey Australia’s night of nights.

Ockenden, who is six matches away from equalling Jamie Dwyer’s all time Kookaburras appearance record of 365, added to his decorated list of achievements after being named Kookaburras Player of the Year.

The Hockeyroos Player of Year saw joint winners, with Claxton and Nobbs sharing the honour.

At the ripe old age of 32, Ockenden was integral in leading and helping the Kookaburras claim the inaugural FIH Pro League title followed by an Oceania Cup triumph which saw the world number one ranked men’s hockey team qualify for next year’s Olympic Games.

“He (Eddie) has had a high quality year. He played well for us at important stages including our qualification for the Olympics and also in our performance during the Pro League,” said Kookaburras Head Coach Colin Batch.

“I think the interesting thing about Eddie is that although he is our oldest player, he continues to improve and perform at a high level and he is an inspiration to the other players in the squad.”

“Often we see an older player slowly diminish in form but that hasn’t been the case with Ed. What makes him outstanding at the moment is that he continues to get better and his game is evolving all the time.

“He works hard on the pitch at training and I think that is basis for any successful elite sports person, that it is the amount of work they put into the daily training environment.”

Claxton and Nobbs both enjoyed a standout year. The duo were ever present in a Hockeyroos outfit that made it through to the FIH Pro League Final, and were consistently impressive performers during the team’s Tokyo 2020 qualifying campaign.

“Kaitlin has had a breakout year. She came in at the start of the year really determined and got herself really fit which is the number one thing that really helped her,” said Hockeyroos Head Coach Paul Gaudoin.

“She has really looked after herself off the pitch and that has enabled her to perform at a high level on the pitch.

“We have always regarded her as a talent, but that talent has come to fruition this year and she was one of our best consistently this year.”

“Jane is someone who prides herself on work rate and effort and she has shown throughout this year that she has the ability to influence games at a high level.”

“She has scored goals, has been an important part of our midfield and it has been pleasing to see her progression.”

“Both Kaitlin and Jane have had support around them but they have performed at a high level consistently and that has really helped us get to where we are at the moment.”

Georgia Wilson received the inaugural Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Award for her work in raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing in a variety of ways, including having her own blog and sharing healthy recipes on her website. She is also an AIS 2019 Lifeline custodian.

Blake Govers took out the Kookaburras Top Goal Scorer Award after amassing 20 goals in 2019. He struck 12 times during the FIH Pro League, including a penalty stroke in the Final, scored three goals in the test series against India, once in a one off international against Japan and four times in the Oceania Cup.

Emily Chalker and Mariah Williams were dual top goal scorers for the Hockeyroos, finishing with eight goals each for the year.

There were also a host of milestones acknowledged on the night, with the most notables being Ockenden passing 350 caps, Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch reaching 200 appearances, Brooke Peris 150 and Flynn Ogilvie bringing up a hundred matches for the Kookaburras.

The Hockeyroos and Kookaburras squads will now head home for the Christmas break before returning to the High Performance setup in Perth to launch into preparations for Tokyo 2020.

Hockey Australia High Performance Awards 2019

Hockeyroos Player of the Year

Jane Claxton and Kaitlin Nobbs

Kookaburras Player of the Year

Eddie Ockenden

Hockeyroos Top Goal Scorer

Emily Chalker and Mariah Williams (8)

Kookaburras Top Goal Scorer

Blake Govers (20)

Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Award

Georgia Wilson


50 matches

Maddison Fitzpatrick (Hockeyroos)
Savannah Fitzpatrick (Hockeyroos)
Lily Brazel (Hockeyroos)
Jake Harvie (Kookaburras)
Tim Howard (Kookaburras)

100 matches

Flynn Ogilvie (Kookaburras)

150 matches

Brooke Peris (Hockeyroos)

200 matches

Rachael Lynch (Hockeyroos)

350 matches

Eddie Ockenden (Kookaburras)


Michaela Spano (Hockeyroos)
Amy Lawton (Hockeyroos)
Jack Hayes (Kookaburras)

Hockey Australia media release

National Hockey Centre Opens

New Zealand’s leading international hockey facility has opened today giving the fast-growing sport a major boost.

The world-class National Hockey Centre at Rosedale has been built for North Harbour Hockey as part of the Northern Corridor Improvements project. The centre will not only be the home for North Harbour’s 8000-strong hockey community, it will also be the training base for the Vantage Black Sticks teams on Auckland’s North Shore.

The $75M facility is the last of three sports facilities that have been relocated and improved in the area, as part of the NCI project.

North Harbour Hockey is scheduled to move into the facility at the end of the year, ready to co-host New Zealand’s first FIH Pro League matches in February 2020.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Senior Manager Project Delivery, Andrew Thackwray, says the international event plans have kept the pressure on to complete the centre on time.

“We’re extremely pleased with how it’s all come together as we’ve been able to meet the hockey deadline.  It’s a great new facility for the sport and its completion will ultimately help our motorway construction schedule as we can now use the land occupied by the old hockey centre.”

Minister for Sport and Recreation Hon Grant Robertson joined Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, Upper Harbour Local Board members, Mana Whenua, Harbour Hockey Charitable Trust, North Harbour Hockey and Hockey New Zealand representatives to celebrate the opening.

“This facility will assist in bringing in more visiting teams and supporters to Auckland. It has been built to enable the hosting of local, national and international competitions and events. We have invested in this now so that the sport can continue to grow through the development of players of all ages and levels,” says the Minister.

A group of young representative players turned out to shoot goals with the Vantage Black Sticks players on the new international hockey turf. Four new turfs have been built, two of Global Elite and two of national standard.

Harbour Hockey Charitable Trust Chair Peter Felstead, says the brand new pavilion building will be a hockey hub of excellence, for both North Harbour and the wider Auckland region.

“As one of New Zealand’s largest hockey communities, we have been bursting out of our existing pavilion for several years and this facility was always planned to accommodate the growth of participation in hockey and sport in general.  Thanks to support from our funders, now we have been able to upgrade to make it a larger facility, which future proofs us for generations to come.”

Mr Felstead says other features include floodlighting, covered seating for 450 spectators as well as 370 new carparks. A new walking and cycling bridge and shared path has also been completed to connect communities to Rosedale Park.

The Transport Agency worked with three sports organisations affected by the Northern Corridor Improvements project and Auckland Council and the local community. The proposal to relocate the three clubs was approved in December 2017. A new North Harbour BMX facility was completed last year, and a new equestrian centre was opened at Wainoni Park in April.

Construction of the hockey centre started in April 2018 and has been delivered by the Transport Agency together with partners Harbour Hockey Charitable Trust, Auckland Council and the Upper Harbour Local Board.

The completion of the facility enables the construction of the new motorway route on State Highway 18 to progress

The Northern Corridor Improvements project will provide a much-needed transport upgrade for the whole Albany and North Harbour community. It includes over 7kms of new walking and cycling paths, a new motorway connection between SH1 and SH18 and will open up access to the Western Ring Route and travel to the airport.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

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